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A lifetime volunteer

Evelyn Rumbolt finds plenty of ways to volunteer from the comfort of her own home. Most afternoons, she has her knitting needles in hand, working on making something to sell to raise money for the Anglican Church Women or the Hospital Auxiliary in St. Anthony. The funds from her products always go towards the hospital or the church.
Evelyn Rumbolt finds plenty of ways to volunteer from the comfort of her own home. Most afternoons, she has her knitting needles in hand, working on making something to sell to raise money for the Anglican Church Women or the Hospital Auxiliary in St. Anthony. The funds from her products always go towards the hospital or the church.

ST. ANTHONY, NL —Volunteering and helping around town has always been something Evelyn Rumbolt has done – it was just naturally in the blood for her, she says.

Now at the age of 75, four years removed from a stroke that left her left hand immobile for a time, the St. Anthony woman is as active as ever.

Currently, Rumbolt is president of the St. Anthony Anglican Church Women (ACW) and president of the Hospital Auxiliary in St. Anthony.

Rumbolt also volunteers with the food bank.

She knits, cooks, picks bakeapples, and does plenty more to lend a helping hand.

Evelyn has volunteered her entire life.

She recalls growing up in Mary’s Harbour, Labrador and first joining the ACW in that town when she was just about 14-years-old.

When she and her husband Ross moved to the Northern Peninsula from Mary’s Harbour 56 years ago, she continued volunteering.

Ross was a teacher at the time and would later become an Anglican minister.

Both of them were therefore very community-oriented people.

She first got involved with the Hospital Auxiliary a few years after moving.

She says she started volunteering with her next-door neighbours in St. Anthony.

Since then, not only has she volunteered with the ACW, hospital auxiliary, and food bank, but she’s also previously volunteered with the air cadets, the Lionesses, and continues to volunteer at the school.

“You got to do something or I’d be bored,” Evelyn says.

Even up to this very day, she’s knitting different things for the gift shop operated by the Hospital Auxiliary and to raise money for the ACW.

On Wednesday afternoon, she was seated in her living room rocking share, knitting back on her side, wool in her lap, and knitting needles in her hand.

Evelyn Rumbolt shows off one of the “worry dolls” she recently knitted.

She was working on knitting a “worry doll”, which is something she has learnt to do fairly recently.

“Got a pattern one of my friend’s brought to me, from down the United States somewhere,” Evelyn says. “So that’s what I’m going to do now.”

A little prayer goes with each of these dolls.

She finds other ways to volunteer too.

Earlier this summer, she picked an impressive seven gallons of bakeapples that will be used in cheesecakes and jams for ACW and Hospital Auxiliary bake sales. That’s after picking 11 gallons last year.

She says the cheesecakes are particularly popular.

All the funds raised from the sales goes towards the hospital and the church.

For the last 10-15 years, Evelyn has been organizing the Grenfell Christmas card sale for the hospital auxiliary every year as well.

A lot of the cards include sketches of Dr. Wilfred Grenfell himself.

She also volunteers at the food bank once every three weeks, serving food to those around who are in need of a meal.

Helping people “makes it feel like you’re worthwhile,” she says.

However, doing all this hasn’t necessarily come easy for Evelyn. Her husband passed away 12 years ago and she suffered a stroke in 2013.

After the stroke, she was scared she wouldn’t be able to get back to knitting. Her fingers were locked together on her left hand.

So she went through rehab at the Miller Centre in St. John’s and gradually learnt to grasp the needles again.

After about a year, she was knitting like normal.

“Now I’m back to knitting the finest kind of wool,” she says.

And she’s hoping to go at it and help in whatever way possible for as long as she can.

 

stephen.roberts@northernpen.ca    

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